“Z for Zachariah” is a Z-grade debasement of “The World, The Flesh, and the Devil,” a B-movie classic from 1959. This worthless piece of crap was directed by Craig Zobel. His larcenous cohort, Nissar Modi, commandeered some few elements of Robert C. O’Brien’s 1974 novel of the same name to cover the major thefts from the earlier movie. The title, as it refers to Zachariah as the last man as opposed to the first man Adam, makes no sense in the context to Zobel’s movie, which is not the story of the last man on Earth, but of the last two men, one white and one black, and their rivalry for the last woman.
The outcome of this rivalry was optimistic in “The World, the Flesh, and the Devil,’ but is sickening in “Z for Zachariah.” When the movie was over, my wife turned to me and asked why the man who was supposed to be a scientist would have acted in such an ignorant way. She suggested how the movie should have ended, and I told her that was the way the 1959 movie ended, and we both agreed the earlier film had the more logical ending.
But it wasn’t just the ending that bothered me; it was the sewage in the waterfall of racist poison that filled the excessively tedious 95 minute duration of the picture. The ghastly Chiwetal Ejiofor, who had already proven himself to be one of England least competent actors when he attempted to play a 19th century African-American in “12 Years a Slave,” is even worse here, resurrecting African-American stereotypes from the 1930’s in his embarrassing imposture of a post-Apocalypse scientist. The other two actors were immediately forgettable, as the script gave them no memorable scenes.
Easily the worst movie to be released so far this year, “Z for Zachariah” is as boring as it is offensive. Between director Zobel, screenwriter Modi, and actor Ejiofor, there is not a thread of imagination or creativity. If you walked into an empty restaurant in which each abandoned table was littered with plates filled with regurgitated garbage, you would be better advised to take a seat and order your dinner than to cross the threshold of a Cineplex that had this putrid display on the menu.